Sean Payton’s tenure as head coach of the Saints is over, according to reports. The Saints head coach is under contract through 2024, but questions began emerging about his commitment to the franchise. Then, on Tuesday it became official.
Sources: Sean Payton has informed the #Saints that he’s stepping away.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2022
It’s been rumored Payton could be aiming for a move to broadcasting, but a lot is still unknown. Payton didn’t report with the rest of the Saints coaching staff on Monday, prompting rumors that he might consider leaving. This reached a point where team owner Gayle Benson spoke publicly, basically asserting that she had no idea what was going on. owner Gayle Benson told local reporters that she has no idea what’s going on either.
This move sends shockwaves not only through the Saints, but head coaching searches around the league. Now there’s another mouth to feed in terms of a hire, and there’s always a chance Payton just wanted out of New Orleans and could still stay in the NFL.
Payton is unquestionably one of the best coaches in the NFL, but a team wanting Payton would need to trade for him. Would anyone bite? It would require a situation where there’s more or less a team ready to win now, willing to give up assets, and believing he’s better than any alternative (including potentially an already employed coach). So let’s see who fits the bill.
Obviously this makes a lot of sense. The Vikings are more-or-less an already complete team with a few holes, but in dire need of a new vision to get them over the hump. Minnesota is in the process of interviewing prospective coaches while still aiming to fill their vacant GM position, but Payton checks a lot of boxes to get the job done before a true rebuild — and theoretically any potential GM should be able to work with a coach like Payton.
This is fascinating for a number of reasons. Nobody is going to mistake Kirk Cousins for Drew Brees, but if there’s anyone who can maximize his potential with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen it’s Payton’s offensive approach….